Archive for the 'HelenKay’s Posts' Category

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by HelenKay Dimon
Goodbye For Now

I am probably the newest member around here and am sad to see Genreality go. I was thrilled when Sasha asked me to join in. A place to talk about writing or publishing or anything I felt I needed to say?  So amazing. Getting to be a part of something great with these fine authors?  Priceless.

2012 was a good professional year for me. I had many releases and signed new contracts. I also signed on with a new publisher, Berkley, and agent.  I have high hopes for 2013 as well, but we’ll see. Truth is, some of that is out of my control but a lot is wthin it.  I know I need to write and read and write even more.  Continuing to treat this as the business it is the key for me. I actually mentioned to someone yesterday about being ready to get back to work now that the holiday is over. The person, well-meaning but not exactly tactful, laughed and gave me the “did you get a job?” thing.  Yeah, I have a job. A great job where I set my schedule and get to work from the couch.  But it is work and I have to do it, and be serious about it, because no one is going to do it for me and the mortgage company doesn’t except free ebooks as payment.  Oh, how I wish…

My final advice is simple.  I recently spoke at the UC Riverside MFA program and said:

I don’t believe ‘writers’ block’ exists, if it doesn’t exist it can’t be in my house. When I get stuck on a scene, I just keep writing – I can fix stuck, I can’t fix blank.

I truly believe that. So keep writing, keep believing and don’t let doubt and excuses derail you.

Best wishes for a safe, happy and prosperous 2013!


Thursday, December 20th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
Excerpt: We’ll Be Home For Christmas

Since it’s the holidays and I have a holiday release, WE’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, seemed like a logical choice for excerpt day. Two people meet, have a little fun (as in a three-night stand) then go their separate ways. Months later they end up in the same town. The attraction is still alive but it seems the hero, Spence, used his brother’s name during that little fling. Lila is not pleased…


Tires crunched on the unpaved ground behind her. Lila spun around in time to see a truck with the Thomas Nurseries logo take the last bend. Before she could find a weapon or bolt, and boy was she tempted to try a little woman-versus-woods thing all of a sudden, the vehicle rumbled to a stop. She thought it had wandered too far over and out of the parking lot and into the grass, but who could tell.

The bigger problem was the driver. This wasn’t the cute young guy or the safe married one. Nope, since her luck had spun into horror territory and refused to budge from there, the driver was the lying sexy one who looked ridiculously good naked. Not that she remembered or anything.

Showdown time.

Spence, Austin, Ralph, Robin Hood or whatever the hell he was calling himself today jumped out of the truck and slammed the door behind him. He stalked toward her, his legs eating up the distance between them in long strides. He resembled his brother around the eyes and a little in the way they talked, but the most obvious  similarity was in the confident way they moved, head up, broad shoulders back and a laserlike focus forward. It was as if they knew their place in the world and never doubted their judgment.

She wondered what that level of assurance must feel like. Stephen had robbed her of that when he treated  her like crap then dumped her before she could dump him. The moron. She wanted to blame him for everything  but, really, her taste in men was atrocious. She had no idea when or how that happened. She’d had a happy childhood and what she thought was a solid marriage…until it wasn’t.

She needed a class or something. Either that or a moratorium on men.

“I’m not sure what to call you,” she said, hoping to knock Spence off guard before he reached for the  upper hand.

He stopped right in front of her. “That goes both ways, sweetheart.”

“I have some ideas. Want to hear them?”

He crossed his arms over his chest, making the move look like some sort of call to war. “Look, you made your  point at the nursery with the whole ‘I don’t know you thing’ and thanks for doing that in front of my brother,  by the way. It will be a decade before he lets that go.”

That part made her smile, and heaven knew she didn’t have much to smile about at the moment, including the air whipping through her cheap winter jacket. She kept moving her feet to keep from freezing solid. “Maybe if I had known you had a brother I would have been more careful.”

“We both pretended to be someone we weren’t back in that hotel.”

Funny but she had felt more herself there than she had in years. “I used my real name. I just skipped the  usual nickname.”

His mouth twisted. He even let out something that sounded like a snort. “Technicality.”

“The ‘t’ word you’re looking for is truth. Though I can see where you might not be familiar with that word,  what with all the lying you seem to do.”

“I didn’t lie.”

“I am two seconds away from backing my car over you. The least you can do is admit you were a gigantic  lying ass.”

“Okay, fine.” He surrendered the battle stance and blew on his hands, which did nothing to keep them  from turning red. “I’ll concede I wasn’t honest on the name thing.”

For some reason she doubted she’d won anything. This guy didn’t strike her as someone who took losing all that well.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
Teachable Moment

I’ve spent the last few days at UC Riverside teaching/holding office hours at the MFA program there. I love talking books and writing. In this case, the topic of my presentation was about making a career out of writing commercial fiction. Honestly, I could talk all day on that topic and the students made it very easy. It was a great crowd.

As part of most of the writing talks/lectures/classes I do, I talk about an article by YA author Sherman Alexie in the Wall Street Journal called Why The Best Kids Books Are Written In Blood. He wrote it in response to an article where someone complained about the nature of YA novels these days. Too much sex, too much violence, etc.

I’m moved every time I read Alexie’s article and yesterday was no different. The articles also tends to bring a hush to the crowd. Here’s my favorite part:

And there are millions of teens who read because they are sad and lonely and enraged. They read because they live in an often-terrible world. They read because they believe, despite the callow protestations of certain adults, that books-especially the dark and dangerous ones-will save them.

As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.

And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.

For me, it stands as a profound reminder of the importance of honesty in books. I love that.

Thursday, November 29th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
Start Of An Idea

People ask all the time where book ideas come from. The real answer, of course, is everywhere. Ideas are easy. You can think them through, turn them around, revise them, add to them and twist them into something new and different. Ideas come from the bits and pieces we read, see, and know. Ideas are the fun part.

I’m one of those people who gets bombarded by new ideas all the time. I also have the unfortunate problem of not being able to remember things unless I write them down. I’ve learned to adjust and not panic. I now get an idea and take the five minutes to write down enough notes to be able to come back later and actually know what I was thinking when I wrote the note.

Even though I’ve grown accustomed to the whole idea/memory/write it down now! stuff, I still can be surprised at what touches off an idea. One of my recent “wait, this could be something…” inspirations came from a photo. Specifically, this photo:

I bet if I asked every author here to look at the photo and come up with a three-line idea, we’d see a huge range. I’d actually be interested in seeing that – put up a photo and have us each write a first paragraph or pitch, just whatever popped into our heads. I love many things about the writing profession but the creative process that allows each of us take the same piece of information and run with it in a different direction is truly amazing. And so is this cabin. How am I using it? Well, the book will be out in June, 2013.

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
The Dream Project

I’m going to echo what some other folks have said. In fact, I read Diana’s post and seriously considered copying a few of her paragraphs and saying: THIS! and WHAT SHE SAID!

The reality is, I’m living the dream. It’s a dream I never knew I had because I wasn’t one of those people who grew up wanting to write a book. I came to the idea much later and have been working pretty hard to establish a career ever since…and that last part pretty much describes ever author I know.

I don’t write books just because someone agrees to hand me a paycheck for writing X plot. I propose books I’m excited to write. Sometimes that’s contemporary romance. Sometimes it’s heart-pumping suspense. Sometimes it something a bit naughty. Truth is, I get bombarded with ideas all the time and have a bunch of books I’d love to write. The problem is in finding the time in the schedule and the market for them.

But is there a book or series I would love to write if time, money and market weren’t issues? Absolutely. I’m a bit of a sci fi geek girl. I love the idea of a space thriller or space cowboy adventure along the lines of FIREFLY with a bigger romance focus. I actually have an idea. The plot and characters have been kicking around in my head for years. Really, for years. The timing has never been right and the market for this subgenre is tough, but I decided just a few days ago that it’s time to stop talking about it and start writing it.

So, I’m going to try it. This is the first holiday season since I started selling books where I don’t have a deadline on January 1st or right around there. Since I’m not a person who does well with not writing – it becomes far too easy for me to get out practice and to develop new ways to procrastinate – rather than taking weeks off, I’m going to take the open time and write without a deadline on a project that I can’t seem to forget. And I can’t wait!

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon

As you read this I will be off somewhere napping. I can almost guarantee it. See, today is deadline day. My book is due to my Berkley editor. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy and the devastation in NYC, the Berkley offices are closed and I’m hoping my editor is home and safe.

Needless to say, the destruction of this week made it a little tough to complain about the deadline. I was warm and dry with electricity and my laptop. No problems on my end except for a plot hole that needed mending and a character who made the last part of the book (all of it, really) difficult to get on the page. But it’s done.

I went from this:

To this:

And now I relax for a few minutes until I start the next one.

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
A Little Inspiration

I’m not really an inspirational quote person. Yes, I appreciate them and many make me smile. Lots of times I think they’re cool or interesting or actually as inspirational as promised. I hear them, think I need to remember that and then I promptly forget most of them.

There are people who can call up a quote at the exact right time and put it out there. I’m generally not one of those people. But as I stumble toward a deadline next week – and stumble is the right word because this book is not going on the page easily – I came across this quote. It struck me as a good reminder, so I thought I’d share it:

The sentiment is great and true as is. The underlying principle is really the point for me: writing should be, is supposed to be, hard. Someone said that to me last week. He joked about this writing gig being soooo easy and we both chuckled. While it’s not digging ditches or coal mining or any other highly dangerous and physically taxing job, if it’s always easy you might not be pushing the boundaries quite hard enough.